Cuba Libre

A signature sandwich moves westward

Ironside chef Bob Cina has a powerful culinary calling card: his Cuban sandwich. The masterful creation followed Cina from his former position in Boston–as chef at French-Cuban bistro Chez Henri–here to San Francisco, where it found a home at the new SoMa restaurant.

How to explain the sandwich's bicoastal popularity? It has everything to do with the pork. Cina marinates pork butt in an orange-and-molasses brine for two days before slow-roasting the meat for six hours, interrupting the cooking only to baste with more orange, molasses and garlic.

The gently sweet, tender pork–along with Gruyère, country ham and pickles–is then piled on a Cuban-style roll lashed with chipotle aioli. For the last hurrah, each sandwich is baked until the cheese begins to melt, then pressed on a griddle until crisp.

At Chez Henri, the sandwich was only available at the bar, and its limited availability made it more desirable. At Ironside, the tradition continues–it can only be ordered at lunch ($12). We suspect the Cubano siren song will soon have you scheduling your midday meetings in South Park.

Ironside, 680 Second St., 415-896-1127, ironsidesf.com